30 by 30: Beurre Blanc

June 9, 2011 · 7 comments

in 30 by 30,chicken/poultry

I feel like a lot of my 30×30 posts include the line, “The first time I made this…”  Apparently I am doing a 30 x 2 x 30.

SO. The first time I made this…

it did not turn out. It’s not because this is particularly difficult to make but it’s because multitasking in the kitchen has become a little more difficult for me now that I have a toddler who constantly wants to be hugging my knees (or trying to light the stove burners…).  I was pan frying chicken and making an asparagus/mushroom sauté at the same time I was reducing the vinegar/wine and I let them over-reduce. I KNEW they had over-reduced (for the record, you can tell when there is pretty much nothing left in the saucepan but shallots…) but I was behind, and decided to just go along and keep adding butter.  Of course, I ended up with a saucepan of melted butter, not a saucepan of beurre blanc.

I initially quartered the recipe, which made it a lot easier to over-reduce the vinegar/wine, so the next time I made it, I only halved the recipe.  I hate being wasteful, since we’re not going to eat a whole stick a butter, but I suppose it’s a little less wasteful than making this a third time. I made the same garlic/lemon chicken I made the first time (which I think is a great complement to the beurre blanc) but made an even easier side of roasted asparagus with goat cheese (a similar recipe to the one my friend Josie posted) so I wouldn’t be dealing with 3 things on the stovetop at once.

This time around, it was so easy I can’t believe I initially messed it up. It turned into a beautifully textured sauce—nice and smooth, a wee bit thinner than a  hollandaise. And, it tastes like butter, so you obviously can’t go wrong. One thing I didn’t do was to strain the sauce. The first recipe I used said to, but the second did not (even though both were based on Julia Child recipes). I would strain it next time, just so make it a little smoother.

Beurre Blanc

Julia Child

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. finely minced shallots
salt and (white) pepper
2 sticks of butter (1 cup) chilled and cut into 16 pieces

In a medium (1.5-2 qt)  saucepan combine vinegar, wine, shallots, salt and white pepper and bring to a simmer.  Simmer the liquid until reduced to 1.5 Tbsp. Remove from heat and immediately swirl or whisk in 2 pieces of chilled butter.

As the butter is incorporated into the liquid, add another piece and continue to whisk. Return the pan to low heat and, while constantly swirling or whisking, add butter piece by piece (adding one piece as the previous one is incorporated into the liquid.

When all of the butter has been added remove from heat. Sauce will be thick and creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste.  Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl, if desired.  Serve immediately.

To hold the sauce, set the pan in a larger pan of lukewarm water. If the sauce separates, transfer a spoonful of the sauce to a cold mixing bowl and gradually whisk the rest of the sauce in by the spoonful.


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